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HOME > The Amazing Race > The Amazing Race 12

'The Amazing Race 12' to run shorter, drop non-elimination Pit Stops

By Christopher Rocchio, 07/24/2007 

In a race around the world, there's apparently little time to be wasted.

The Amazing Race's twelfth season -- which will air as part of CBS' 2007-2008 midseason schedule -- will run two episodes shorter and drop the course's non-elimination Pit Stops in an effort to "create more excitement," executive producer Jonathan Littman told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour last Friday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Non-elimination Pit Stops have been part of The Amazing Race since the reality competition series first premiered in Fall 2001.  For the show's first two seasons, clues given to teams before each Pit Stop ended with the statement "The last team to arrive will be eliminated" -- except in non-elimination legs, which made it easy for teams (and home viewers) to distinguish when they were coming up. 

The non-elimination pocess got a little trickier for The Amazing Race's next two editions, as clues preceding the Pit Stop initially featured the same "will be" phrasing until midway through the competition, after which "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" clues were substituted to create some uncertainty as to whether the next location was in fact a non-elimination Pit Stop.  Up until The Amazing Race's fourth season, teams that finished last at non-elimination Pit Stops were not penalized.

The Amazing Race's fifth season was the first to use the phrase "The last team to arrive may be eliminated" for every leg except the first -- a format that has since been used up through The Amazing Race: All-Stars, the eleventh edition that aired this past spring. 

The Amazing Race's fifth edtion was also the first in which teams were penalized for being the last to reach non-elimination Pit Stops.  For Seasons 5 through 9, the last team to arrive at a non-elimination Pit Stop was required to turn over all their remaining cash and start the next leg without any new funds -- basically making them beggars. 

The penalty became more severe with Season 7 -- in addition to losing all their money and starting the next leg without an allowance, last place non-elimination leg teams also had to surrender all their possessions (excluding the clothes on their back and the passports in their pockets) for the remainder of the competition.  This format was used through the show's ninth season. 

Starting with The Amazing Race 10, teams arriving last at a non-elimination leg kept their clothes and money, and were instead "marked for elimination,"  which meant they had to arrive at the next Pit Stop in first.  If they failed to do so, they'd incur a 30-minute penalty, allowing other teams to check-in before them and possibly spelling the end to their game.

Fall 2007 will mark the first time since The Amazing Race's sixth season that the reality series will not -- presumably due to the gradual ongoing ratings decline that began with the Fall 2005 broadcast of the reality franchise's disastrous The Amazing Race: Family Edition -- be part of CBS' initial fall television season schedule.  However, whatever the reasoning behind CBS' decision to delay The Amazing Race's  next edition, Littman still sounded excited about the show's upcoming twelfth installment.

"The countries are very exotic," Littman told reporters, according to the Sentinel. "We're going to a couple of places that I don't even know where they are on the map. I've had to go look them up... This is a tough group [of teams].  They'll be younger. We still have a good balance."

With nominees for the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards announced last Thursday, The Amazing Race also has a chance to build on its collection of seven statuettes, including the three it claimed last year.  The show received five nominations for the third straight year and was once again nominated in the Outstanding Reality-competition Program category, which it has won ever since the Academy first created the Emmy Awards category four years ago.

Littman pointed to The Amazing Race's Emmy success in comparison to that of Fox's American Idol -- which may be a ratings juggernaut that's been nominated 29 times since it was first eligible in 2003, including the seven it received this year -- but does not yet have a single Emmy Award win to its credit.

"I love Idol.  I'm a huge Idol fan," said Littman, according to the Sentinel. "It is worthy of all its success. But it is in the studio... [The Amazing Race] send these crazy Americans around the world, out of our control for 90% of the trip. It's an audacious, ambitious task to do. I think the Academy members recognize that."

Littman is presumably hoping viewers start to recognize it too.

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